Piscataway, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Chris Fouch scored 22 points to lead the way as the Drexel Dragons held on to defeat the Elon Phoenix, 71-64, in the opening round of the NIT Season Tip-Off at the RAC.
The victory gave Bruiser Flint his 214th win at Drexel (2-1) which makes him the winningest coach in school history. Damion Lee contributed 16 points for the Dragons, who also received 15 points off the bench courtesy of Tavon Allen. Kazembe Abif grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.
Elon (2-2) lost despite a strong showing from Lucas Troutman, who poured in a game-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor. Ryley Beaumont chipped in 10 points and five rebounds before fouling out in the final minutes of the game.
The Phoenix connected on 43.5 percent of their field goal tries, but went just 1-of-5 from 3-point range in the opening 20 minutes. Although Drexel was limited to 36 percent shooting from the floor, it knocked down 14-of-20 attempts at the free-throw line in the first half to take a 33-23 lead into the intermission.
The Dragons improved to hit on 50 percent of its field goal attempts in the second stanza. Fouch drained a deep attempt from beyond the arc to extend Drexel's advantage to 47-31 with 14:03 remaining in regulation. Elon narrowed the gap to just two points with a 17-3 run, but the Dragons responded with a 10-2 run of their own to pull off to a double-digit margin lead once again. The Phoenix converted 18-of-19 attempts at the charity stripe over the final 20 minutes of the game.
Drexel enjoyed a 39-24 edge in the rebounding battle and scored 13 points off of turnovers.
The Dragons will advance to the next stage of the tournament on Tuesday to face Rutgers. Elon will look to bounce back against Canisius.